Now We Can Talk About Next Year

Now that Brandan Wright has decided to head for the NBA we can take a look at what this team will look like when practice opens up next season. Right up front I will state that I think UNC should open the 2007-08 season as the #1 team in the country. They will have the talent they need at every position with more than adequate backups. I also believe that the experience of last season, the loss to Georgetown, and the continued emergence of Marcus Ginyard and Tyler Hansbrough as vocal leaders will give this team the edge it was missing last season. I fully expect the Heels will have plenty of toughness as well as being highly motivated to redeem themselves from that final six minutes of regulation in the regional final.

If I had to identify some nagging questions heading into next season I would peg those on the perimeter shooting and the defense. Wayne Ellington and Bobby Frasor must emerge as legitimate three point threats and by legitimate I mean over 40%. Frasor will hopefully be fully recovered and I am of the opinion he would fit better playing the two and being shooter rather than running the point. Secondary to those two Marcus Ginyard and Danny Green also need to show themselves as threats and Ty Lawson will benefit greatly from adding a reliable three point shot to his arsenal. In my mind Deon Thompson and Alex Stepheson playing alongside Tyler Hansbrough will make UNC a solid offensive threat on the interior and a dominant rebounding team. Thompson showed how good he could be when he got real minutes, Stepheson is up and coming. Hansbrough is Hansbrough and might be out to prove something this season in terms of being the ACC POY and one on the national stage also.

The key will be in the perimeter shooting because it opens up everything in the half court. If an opposing defense cannot zone then Lawson can penetrate and causing the other team to scramble which creates all sorts of opportunities on the offensive end. On the defensive end, the Heels need to play smarter and certain individuals just need to work on their individual defensive games. I think much of the defensive breakdown we saw this past season was related to youth and inexperience. Learning how to play defense in Roy’s system is difficult and a year more of experience for everyone should make this team much better in stopping opposing teams.

Depth wise this team will still be very strong and should have little trouble running hog wild in an effort to wear the opposing team down. Aside from the eight aforementioned players, UNC gets William Graves off redshirt and Quentin Thomas will be a senior who has an opportunity to be a huge contributor from the backup point guard position. At this point I would surmise that eight regulars would see the bulk of the minutes with Graves and Thomas chipping in at given times. I think Lawson is going to be a work horse from about mid-season on much the same way Raymond Felton was in 2005. The same will be true of Hansbrough as well.

Overall this team, even without Wright should be a near lock for San Antonio and from there it is all a matter of matchups on the final weekend of the season.

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Ty Lawson
SG: Wayne Ellington
C: Tyler Hansbrough
SF: Marcus Ginyard
PF: Deon Thompson


PG: Quentin Thomas
SG: Bobby Frasor
C: Alex Stepheson
SF: Danny Green
PF: Williams Graves/Mike Copeland


10 Responses to Now We Can Talk About Next Year

  1. […] has audio of the press conference. Roy understands. Tudor on logic and opportunity? Tar Heel Fan is ready to look to next year now. Why are we […]

  2. 52BigGameJames says:

    one hole to fill that’s being overlooked, is Wes Miller’s on-ball pressure. All the more reason imo, to consider Ginyard as WG. I would at least give him a look at that position. After this season’s performance, I most certainly wouldn’t again hand the keys to Ellington –he should have to earn it this time around.

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I am putting some hope in the idea that Ellington will improve and that he is ready to play big time college defense as well as become that 3 point shooter we all hope can be.

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    agreed and I believe that will happen, but nothing wrong with having an aggressive driver in your rear-view to keep you motivated.

  5. chuckheel says:

    Another thing that would help would be for Ty Lawson to develop a consistent three-point shot like Felton did. If Lawson does that, Carolina would be unstoppable.

  6. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I agree. Defend the shot and he will drive right past you, play the drive and he will drill a three.

  7. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    Lawson is the key. Toward the end of the season he was developing more confidence in his shot and when he hit outside it opened things up for Hansbrough down low. Ellington too must show a more consistent shot from both beyond the arc and with his mid-range shooting. UNC is losing good outside shooters and has to take up the slack. In terms of offense and defense, Ginyard and Green give Williams a lot of flexibility.

  8. Josh Bowling says:

    I am hoping Graves will be a bigger provider than expected. I do think he will wind up doing more for our team than most forsee. Although I like to base my assessments on facts/logic/consistency/ and history, I am basing this on nothing more than intuition.

    Good Luck 07-08 Heels!!

  9. Josh Bowling says:

    I like Lawson’s mid range game as well. Around mid season, he was driving to the basket, shaking off defenders, and hitting 10 footers. There isn’t anything this kid isn’t capable of doing, there are a whole host of things he is likely to do before he leaves. Like Dickie V said “He is Special”. I think Tywon can “lay down the law” better than AC did for Texas A&M.

  10. Mack says:

    I was hoping Wright would stay with the team, but I guess that would be asking to much. With that being said, we should have a strong team this next year.

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